AbstractsPolitical Science

NGO Alliances; An Investigation of the Restructuring of Development Practice

by Sofie Thordal Trærup

Institution: Roskilde University
Year: 2014
Keywords: NGO; Alliances
Record ID: 1120122
Full text PDF: http://rudar.ruc.dk/handle/1800/14346


ABSTRACT During the last couple of years NGOs have been forced to gather in networks or international alliances in order to keep up with the increased demands from the development sector. One of the NGOs, who have decided to join an international alliance, is the Danish NGO, Mellemfolkeligt Samvirke (MS), which merged with ActionAid International (AAI) in 2008. While the constellation of alliances entails a gathering of partners from Northern and Southern organizations, negotiations of organizational restructurings are necessitated in order to create coherence and effective cooperation. Thus, as this investigation implies, these negotiations leads to challenges in terms of power relations between the respective partners. As the rising tendency among NGOs to gather in alliances primarily can be explained by top-down approaches through international policies, certain circumstances have not been included in these policies. Thus concerns regarding the organizational consequences and the well-being of the development workers in the wake of the mergers are not taken into account. This investigation examines how the merger between MS Uganda and AA Uganda affects the development workers within the organization. The empirical data thus encompasses articulations on the specific merger as well as on cultural clashes on a national and an organizational level. This brings forth analyses and discussions on how the establishments of alliances challenge power structures between Global North and Global South in a development context. As the concept of alliances is still emerging, only little research about this topic has been conducted. The investigation is thus relevant, as it contributes with new insights to the academic discussion of how alliances can be situated within the development paradigms of ‘mainstream’ and ‘postdevelopment’ thinking. Analysed through the specific case of AAU, the aim of this study is to contribute with knowledge on how the emergence of alliances affects the cooperation among the employees and furthermore how it challenges existing power discourses within development practice.